Friday, September 11, 2015


I realize that I seem to attract more craziness in my life than most people do. In fact, my friends have come to anticipate some really off-the-wall answer whenever they ask me what’s new. 

But the other night, when what was supposed to be a quick trip to Wal-Mart in Concord turned into a nearly three-hour adventure, even I had trouble believing everything that happened.

First of all, I recently adopted a dog, Eden, from a shelter and didn’t want to leave her and Willow, my other dog, alone for long, mainly because I had no idea what the two of them would do or get into while I was gone. Visions of returning to find my sofa looking like an explosion in a cotton factory filled my mind. So I vowed to be gone no longer than an hour.

I raced through Wal-Mart and made it to the checkout in record time. As I stood waiting, I remembered an advertisement I’d seen saying the store would match lower prices from other stores. The bottle of orange juice I was buying cost $3.99, but I knew it was only $3 at Market Basket.  Normally, I’d have bought the juice there, but as I said, I was pressed for time. I searched through my purse and found a recent sales receipt from Market Basket that showed I’d bought the same juice there for only $3.

So I showed the receipt to the cashier and asked her if I could get the juice for the lower price of $3, using their price-match guarantee.

She had a very thick accent, so I had trouble understanding her, but I thought she said something about needing to see a sales flyer. I explained that the price was the everyday price at Market Basket, not a sale price, so it wouldn’t be in a flyer. But she kept repeating she needed a flyer.

Finally, she called a supervisor over. She then tried to explain my request to the woman, but seemed to be struggling to find the right words, and the supervisor looked confused. By then, the line was forming behind me, and I really wanted to speed things along, so I decided to tell the supervisor what I wanted.

The minute I opened my mouth, however, the supervisor narrowed her eyes at me and snapped, “If you don’t mind, I’m trying to listen to her!” She then looked back at the cashier and ignored me.

I gritted my teeth and kept silent.

Finally, the supervisor said I could get the juice for $3. She walked off.

I used my debit card to pay for my purchases, and requested $40 cash back. Then, because I was ahead of schedule, I headed to Job Lot, the next block over, to buy some dog treats. When I opened my wallet to pay for my purchases, my eyes grew wide. The $40 wasn’t there!  I checked my Wal-Mart receipt to see if I’d been charged the $40 for the cash back. I hadn’t been charged $40…I’d been charged $100. I figured I must have punched the wrong numerical button on the “cash back” option. My stomach knotted.

Panicking, I rushed back to Wal-Mart. When I entered, I asked the greeter where I should go to get my money. He directed me to the service desk.

Well, when I approached the service desk and saw the supervisor who’d previously snapped at me standing there, I came close to just forgetting about the $100 and leaving. I mean, if she was irritated with me because I’d asked for a $1 discount on juice, I could only imagine how she’d react when I tried to get $100 back.  I figured she’d probably call security and have them come slap the cuffs on me.

So I was very careful with my wording when I spoke to her. I didn’t want to sound accusatory, even though I knew the cashier hadn’t given me the money.

I said, “I just realized that my $100 cash back isn’t in my wallet. Is there any way to find out if the money was given to me?”

She frowned at me. “I don’t have time right now. You’re going to have to wait.”

Fortunately, another employee was standing nearby and said she would check the register drawer for me and do an audit. She took my receipt and headed over to the register where I’d checked out, which now was closed. Then, using some sort of counting device, she went through all of the money, adding the totals of each denomination.

Finally, she said, shaking her head and sighing, “Yes, this register is $100 over. I’m very sorry. You shouldn’t have had to go through any of this or come all the way back here. There is no excuse for it.” She then handed me the $100 and initialed my receipt.

I can’t remember when I’ve ever felt more relieved.

When I’d earlier been in Job Lot, I also had intended to run into Target, which is in the same plaza, for a couple sale items I’d seen advertised. Even though it was getting late and I was concerned about the dogs, I decided to still go to Target, seeing I was so close by, and just quickly grab the items.

I found everything I needed and made a beeline for the checkout. There was a somewhat disheveled-looking man ahead of me in line. After the cashier rang up his purchase and announced the total, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a clump of money, which he tossed onto the counter. The bills were filthy, crumpled and in some cases, torn in half. The cashier stared at the money as if she thought it contained some deadly virus. Finally, she called for the supervisor and asked her if she could accept torn money. The supervisor said yes, but only if she taped it back together.

So I stood there while the man’s money was being taped. I glanced at the only other register that was open. That line was longer.

When the man’s transaction finally was completed, he once again reached into his pocket. This time, he pulled out a handful of loose change…and dumped it on top of the items I was purchasing.

“That’s for you,” he said, “for being patient.”  Then he left.

I counted $1.58.

So that’s why a one-hour shopping trip ended up taking me over three hours.

But on the bright side, I got a discount on my juice, I got my $100 back, and I even earned an extra $1.58.

When I finally returned home, I found only half of my dog Willow’s teddy bear lying on the rug.  I still haven’t found the other half, but I suspect Eden had something to do with its mysterious disappearance.

I’ll bet that supervisor at Wal-Mart could make her confess.


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